Shadowing a Doctor

November 4, 2016

Whether they had always planned one or received lower grades than expected, many aspiring health students find themselves on a medical gap year. Far from simply a break in your studies, a medical gap year can totally transform your medicine application and expand your horizons in a number of different ways. If you’re planning one, make sure you reap lots of the following benefits!

Enhance your skills

If you plan to resit any of your A Level exams, the UKCAT or the BMAT, your medical gap year is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen up your application. Because you are no longer at school, you can dedicate far more time to revision than you may have been able to before. You can also access lots of test papers and guidance online, or even attend preparatory classes or tuition.

There is no shame in resitting some of your qualifications – but your chosen medical school will want to see a good amount of growth between your scores, so make sure you set aside some time to prepare.

Write the perfect personal statement

Important though your A Levels and admissions tests are, there is much more to a strong application than that!

While you are completing your medical gap year you should try to think how to make your personal statement (and, hopefully, interview) as rich as possible. One great way to do this is by completing some work shadowing or an internship. This could be one day per week over a period of several months, or you may choose something more intensive such as coming on a medical shadowing programme with Gap Medics.

Not only does this sort of experience show admissions panels that you understand the reality of becoming a health professional, but also reassures you that you have chosen the right career path. After all, a three-year medical degree is a big commitment!

Paid work

University is expensive – especially if you are there for five years. Taking a medical gap year is a great opportunity to get some paid work under your belt and give yourself a good cushion of savings before you leave for university. Whilst you may be able to secure something related to your career, such as medical scribing or helping in a care home, any work is beneficial and teaches you organisation, teamwork and other professional skills.

Travel abroad

The life of a doctor is extremely busy, and even applying takes a huge amount of hard work. That’s why it’s important to spend some of your medical gap year doing something for you. Travelling broadens your horizons in so many ways – you meet exciting people from all walks of life, discover new cultures and traditions, and gain independence. It also takes a lot of commitment to save up for a big trip. What a great excuse to board a plane and explore!

If you keep your future as a health professional firmly in mind, we’re sure you can have a medical gap year that not only improves your chances of getting into medical school but rejuvenates you as well.

Why not get in touch about one of our medical shadowing programmes?


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.